TEMPE, Ariz. -- In an effort to make sure he gets stretched out and ready for the regular season, Zack Greinke will make his final spring start next Wednesday in a minor league game against the Athletics.
The move, which we discussed on Friday night, assures Greinke, who will make only five spring starts instead of six, gets stretched out by pitching in a more controlled environment. Greinke threw 76 pitches on Friday, which was in the range the Dodgers wanted, but he only pitched 3⅔ innings. His longest outing of the spring has been four innings to date.
"He's not thrilled about it. He doesn't really like doing that," manager Don Mattingly said Saturday. "But it's the safest way and the best way to get him prepared, making sure he can get the pitches he wants and we can control it."
In a minor league game, the rules are quite bendable, such that if a team wanted to end each inning after 15 pitches, they can. Conversely, when hitters go play on the minor league side to get extra at-bats, they often bat once per inning regardless of the batting order.
Mattingly was asked why Greinke isn't a fan of minor league games.
"I think he likes the energy better [in a major league game]," Mattingly said. "With minor leaguers you don't have the same energy. But it's just a different environment."
The Dodgers chose this option for Greinke, on their last day of camp in Arizona, rather than having him start the opening game of the Freeway Series on Thursday night against the Angels in Anaheim.
Here is the Dodgers pitching rotation for the remainder of spring training:
- Sunday: Brandon McCarthy vs. Rangers; Carlos Frias at Giants
- Monday: Brett Anderson vs. Diamondbacks
- Tuesday: TBD vs. White Sox
- Wednesday: Clayton Kerhsaw at Royals; Greinke vs. Athletics minor leaguers
- Thursday: TBD at Angels
- Friday: McCarthy at Angels
- Saturday: Anderson vs. Angels
Mattingly also said that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has advocated the possibility of altering the rules in spring training, even discussing an idea with MLB executive Joe Garagiola Jr.
"You should be able to take a pitcher out of an inning, and then put him back in [the next inning]," Mattingly said.."It just seems like it's spring training, we're trying to get guys ready. That's what it's for."